tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 7, 2013 2:00am-4:01am EST
>> accountable to the state of ohio? >> not for state, no. >> you talked about how you think you should not take down this site, a suggestion by the chairman and others. you said better to do routine updates while it is happening. are you testing the site? the agrades you are using? >> on regular basis. >> will you provide the results? regular -- i do not know what you're asking for. >> to the american people. dayesting is going on every we did with every piece of part oft that became the site. it was tested not only by the company and the contractor as it was presented, but there was a
cms test performed. >> let me continue because i have a short time. a lot of stories from constituents. onuy says he tried to get for two leaks and found that his coverage was doubled. a woman called in having tough time making ends meet. -- telephoneof call and says she still has not heard back. the stories are out there. 12 million people nationally will lose the coverage they have. we talked about a lot of promises that were made. how many ohioans had their insurance plans canceled? do we know? >> i do not know. state that provide information, will we know how many? quek again, the federal government, these are private plans.
ohio companies could give you that information. haveis not information we at the department of health and human services. these are private insurance companies. >> we will not know how many people? class you could ask the ohio insurance companies. that would be a great way to get the answer. >> insurance companies are canceling plans because the legislation you are implementing does not permit the plant because it does not meet your mandate. it would be helpful for you to know how many of the plans are being canceled. >> the customer is in a grandfather plan after -- they have not received a notice. i really do not -- >> you do not care about the data? >> i do, but you asked if i could give you the answer. i cannot tell you for ohio. >> let me ask a final question about covering the uninsured. we have talked about the promises. you keep the coverage, the cost being less rather than more. we have not talked about coverage.
all of thisfter , over $1d bureaucracy trillion of consumer spending, and so on, there are still 30 million american 10 years from now after full implementation of this, that will not have health insurance? is that accurate? >> i hope it is not the case. >> do you believe it is accurate? >> i understand. i do not know what their premise is. behink that is not likely to true, if the program can be fully realized. >> do you have a number on that? >> i do not. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. about theed as i am huge problems with the website, i am more concerned with some of the underlying fundamental with thisblems
legislation that are starting to manifest themselves. i want to share with you a few short e-mails from the hundreds and probably thousands of e- mails i have received from ofnsylvanians conveying some the concern, and, in particular, how the false promises are affecting real people, in this case, my constituents. i got an e-mail october 11 from a dad in pennsylvania and i will quote this. received notice last week my health care will more than tripled. i am currently paying 265 thousand dollars per month for me and my two young sons. on january 1 2014, the monthly premium will be $836 per month. the president promised you could keep your plan and families will save $2500 per year. i can teach my plan and i just cannot afford it. i qualify for subsidies.
$80 a month. while there was a promise families would save money with this, it is clearly not the case for this family. there is another problem alluded to several times. we know famously the president and others have said, if you like your health -- health insurance, you can keep it. a woman from lancaster county sent me an e-mail. it is short. i will quote it. she said she is a two-time breast cancer survivor. president obama said if we like our insurance, we would be able to keep it. that was obviously untrue. ". that's untrue." i got an e-mail on october 7.
said i've been self-employed for 1 years and have never been without health iven assurance. three years ago i was diagnosed with multiple scle loss sis. having a preexisting condition was not a problem for me as i had never let my insurance lafments my medication cost would be $4,000 per month without insurance. i received notice they were going to cancel my plan and i had to sign up for new coverage through the health insurance exchange. if my coverage is not in place before january 1 i will have to go without my medications. this will cause permanent disabilities, blindness and problems walking. any plan i find that would cover me channels me back to signing up through the exchange. i'm a small business owner and a productive member of society. i own my own house. now 50eu78 in trouble. we call this woman and we discuss this. it turned out there were two options available to her through the exchange. one option would allow her to continue to see the doctors that have been treating her. the other option would cover the medication, negotiate option
would cover both. well it's clear to me they've been repeated many times, i think millions of times across the country. and it's a hugte problem. so i guess my question for you is i understand this administration is never going to want to repeal this bill. i get that. i understand you've delayed whole sections of it but don't want to delay the individual mandate for instance. my question is there r there any changes you want to recommend we could make to this bill so that the promises that were made by the president, by yourself, by others for these people, promises which clearly are not being kept could actually in fact be kept? are there any that you would recommend to us? >> senator, i'd be happy to work with members of congress who want to achieve the goals of the bill which are to provide for the first time affordable health coverage for millions of people who don't have it and an additional goal of the bill i
would say is to in the marketplace, the last remaining market where people have been denied coverage because about a quarter of the people who seek insurance can't get it at all, medically underwritten, denied because of preexisting condition where they have an opportunity to move forward. if there is some framework that is you have in mind, what i really want to do is get the program up and running and get information to people about how they can take advantage of -- >> the program as it's designed, the bill as it's designed does not honor these promises. let me ask the grandfathering clause we all know has so many exceptions that many plans are simply not grandfathered. are you willing to reexamine the exceptions to the grandfathering clause so that many plans could be actually grandfathered? >> i don't think grandfathering perspectively can work very well and since companies are now in a the and you will market with an
array of new are you plans. in plans. many have added consumer him many have added consumer protections in the last three and a half years. and in as you said, the regulation came out shortly after the bill was written. it provided a framework. we've been working with insurers as they look to what plans they would put in the new marketplace, what plans they would keep in place. and in and the grandfather clause has been part of that ongoing discussion. >> we're going to have to move on. thank you very much. >> thank you mr. chairman. i know you've probably seen lots of headlines. i don't know if you've seen this one, thousands face delay in healthcare enrollment. over 100,000 workers will be able to sign up as of october 1. the reason why i'm asking you about that particular headline is because it's from the boston globe august 3, 2006.
and in that case, we do know the rest of the story. the rest of the story is that the governor of massachusetts estimated that only 123 consumers signed up in the first month but eventually tens of thousands did and now today the state has nearly universal coverage. they went from one in four people having insurance to uninsured being one in four to 2340u being one in ten. we know the results so to me it's a reminder of what our goal was which is to address double digit increases in insurance rates were preventing people from getting insurance coverage.
so to me the issues of the website and software since it's part of a background i've had before, to me it's about writing code and getting things tested and it's very frustrating for andnd struggling for months months and months to get a scientific way to clean up that resource. that case it's about just getting the code right and making it work and making it function. in that case, governor romney for and got a three month did he clay. i'm not asking you to comment on that. i know the chairman asked to you comment on that. but i think there is no shame in pushing out a date based on technology.
that's my opinion. and i want to note that state's own experience has been more positive. one of the issues that was local press was his issue of not having people have to sign up to enter the ite to get data as they call the amazon model and i'd like to get your comments about that. and then i want to get your comments about this issue of market and ual cancellations. that in the aid individual market only 17% of on an keep their plans annual basis. so obviously there is a huge churn that goes on in that individual market. maybe we don't have a number or today, but it would be great to get that data and if we ave to get it from insurers we should have a number about what that annual rate has been
my sense is we are probably following that pretty today. ame people are saying what is normal churn in the individual and trying to site it as the end all, be all problem and anyway to shed light on those issues. of the the discussion individual market, the data again that continues to be itedes our projection of what would happen with the affordable care account is a look back at market. somewhere between 40 and 60% of turn over on a regular basis. individual market contracts are year so it's not unusual to policy or e same practice a year later. they're an continuous work benefit. individuals who are in the market want to get insurance.
don't have a workplace insurance and they're not medicare eligible and not a veteran. they want insurance, and often truggle with not only price increases at about 16% a year average but everyone is edically underwritten so any illness or disease could block you in the market in the first lace or put you in a pool that could sky rocket and lockout. the protections that the ha that e care act added to the individual market re the very ones that every worker in a small group plan enjoy or in a work site enjoy. locked out because of a preexisting condition. you must be offered the policy. are in a risk pool so your own disease profile doesn't determine your rates. that's really what is happening with that market. of the peep 50% are not in their policies for a year. a third are there for only six
months. it is a very volatile and unprotected very marketplace for way too many folks. senator.you, mr. rockefeller. i have e secretary, watched you today and watched eviscerated over in the house. not for your resignation, your head but your resignation emanated from this panel. it all makes me want to just say some things. number one, i attach some to the fact that this bill which was crafted a lot of committee, a ance lot of it open and in public, when it came to the floor, there was not one single voted for the plan. this was two years ago. more. a little bit
and i try to ask myself how could that be possible. son was asking as i would georgia ask about rural west virginia at a st saturday i was rural health center in a very virginia art of west occurred tocasually me there was $10 billion in a a thousand new health centers all across america. does anyone know that? i don't think in west virginia or generally. prospect unned by the of let's say 100 million people or underinsured, hat the president makes a couple of statements that perhaps he shouldn't have made, the whole at becomes argument. all the letters, i was promised
that, and i'm trying to think of all the benefits that this.rom i work very closely with the chairman and others on this bill finance committee to produce it. a magnificent work. virginia don'tst necessarily share that view right now because i think they have the problem that so many they simply that don't know what's in the bill of the absolutely aniacal and really admirable attack machine including all the television, this has to be the that ever happened to america and then i look at the bill and i said, as you country re the only that doesn't do something like we've done it very well. i think people will get and the under insured
insurance and 80% of consumers change their plans every two years. might be more t than that. republicans are talking about provider shock saying won't be able to keep argument whichan is almost comical and being so you consider en the affordable care account are designed to help people who do health insurance and therefore by definition did not primary care ar physician. single ing every possible dark attack but taking wo statements, taking the website, which is frustrating to all of us, but if there's worked out t can be it would be the website. it's a technology matter and that wilpp for delaying unless y
in time, in which case maybe a penalty should be lifted. i'm incredibly proud of the incredibly proud of ou and marilyn tavern going before committees and getting viscerated but standing your ground and knowing exactly what ou've done far more than most of us. and certainly far more than most viciously o are making a political attack. writtrisen in the last five years. you can really sour people on ads.ple television it's not that hard to do and give people a chance to -- i your resignation and hand it in today. those things are so unrelated of underinsured or
uninsured americans which this bill sets out to successfully period of years actually solve their problems. talk about tax people saying that they're desperate about it and that ct of the matter is they get 35% of their tax credit of the premium paid by tax credit and after that is 50% on basis.nent you never hear that. you never hear that. so, this is not so much a but a statement of sadness about the ability of the upper body, the so-called body with the cup and the saucer that sort of routine. hat we can be so maniacally political that we just seek to destroy and forget the agony
through, e are going which this bill will cure. senator, very much. chair.nk you mr. i thank you for joining us. have shared headlines they've notice theytly or in the past and relate to implementing to healthcare changes. to that. add we dug up some headlines and one early f as in failure and one is not ready for primetime. a third was confusion reigns. and a fourth headline was pharmacists say some will die. and as you might guess, those headlines from this month or last month, this was rom 6 or 7 years ago when we were implementing medicare part for.hich i voted i was one of 11 who voted for
it. had a huge donut hole. fell into f people it. they didn't get any help from medicare. stopped taking their medicines and got sick and sicker and went to the hospital money.st a lot of with the affordable care act we and fixed a problem and paid for by the industry and created by the original george w. bush proposal which i supported. we're getting a lot of lament bout folks understandably oh throw are a million people who apparently are not going to be ble to continue with their insurance policy. maybe this is a substandard problem. try to work and help those folks let's keep in mind, a lot of people, hundreds of thousands people, they call my office offices and have problems that aren't worth the paper they're written on and we
to be concerned about those 2, 3, 4 erned about the million young people who today not having health insurance because they're aged out. 22, 23, 24, 25 and today they have coverage. in mind as well. i have us keep in mind the the ons of people over years who actually lost coverage. they had coverage but lost it condition preexisting and lost it at the time when they needed it most of all. as we work to try to address the by a couple million people sadly who are not going policies to keep the they want interfacing large increases, that's a problem. e need to try to help them and try to fix that. but at the same time let's try perspective. the other thing is, over in spend half as much on healthcare as we document they 18%.t eight% and we spend they get better results and cover everybody. last night when people went to to bed ty million went
without healthcare coverage and we're trying to do something about it. we had in committee, republicans us.en't able to work with they were sad. e had three republicans that lasted forever trying to get to yes. legislation was signed by the president and has a couple of good ideas that were republican ideas. so some good stuff from the republicans found their way into of law in the end and one those is the idea of large purchasing pools, we call them that's not a and democratic idea. idea k it was republican and the alternative and tried to it and makeorporate it work. it's a good idea. the idea of the individual that's as i recall, that's i think a heritage that governor , part of the ed and
massachusetts. >> we've had i think roughly ten hearings just before the of the law and since on october 1st. i think when we were doing this i think we had two hearings and maybe the first 1 was four months after the was implemented and we then not to harang and harass people. the progressstion, with repairing the federal improvements have seen the americans change and what can we see in the next several weeks? well, senator, i think i'm admit that the excruciatingly awful for way too many people.
get in people couldn't the site in the first place. nd then when they were able to access the site, screens would go down all the time. hey couldn't get from place to place. i would say that those are the areas of focus and we are in a continuous era where on a very with a very rigorous schedule of mprovements we are adding hardware and software to fix the peoplenality and getting from place to place, increase the speed and make sure we are the volume of people who clearly want to use regularss the site on a basis. o, there have been significant improvements. we are not satisfied at all where we are now. to an end of ed november experience that is
better on volume and speed and reliance and making sure we get to people and we have a very specific plan to reinvite people back to the sites who started at one point along the way and may have been so frustrated that they gave up. we don't want to do that until their experience will be significantly better than it was the first time. that a lot of young folks have little patience with that doesn't work and that's what we're doing. >> thank you, senator. i'll turn to the most patient member of the committee. > thank you, mr. chairman and secretary thank you for being here. >> yesterday the administer testified on the security
healthcare.gov which was tested for the hub and the system.ace she testified that there was no end to end testing. fact, she approved a eptember 27th memo to move forward with issuing the operate.y to the memo specifically noted this, quote from a security aspects of the system that were not tested due to the on going development uncertainty el of that can be deemed as high risk or the federal facilitate marketplace system. yes or no were you aware of that memo? >> i was made aware of it resoepbltsr oh oeu /* /- recently. did you talk mes about the security aspects and specifically this decision to authority d with the to operate? >> we did not discuss the authority to operate.
did you at any point notify security house of the concern that's exited about the exchange? would say that there were senator, about risk -- >> did the white house know -- not aware of this and i did not have these discussions with the white house because i them aware of >>white house know there had been no end to end testing of aspects of the exchange? >> i think the white houses was ware of the operational issues involving end to end testing and i don't know the specifics. again, i did not have the discussions about this authority issue with the white house. >> you testified last week in law ouse that it was the that made you stand up the exchange on october 1st. fact, the statute as i read
start ires enrollment to and not the exchange to stand up. legal u given different advice within hhs? >> what the law says is that started on january 1st. the aw also said that secretary shall designate by date of open enrollment and that that to be ion needed promulgated i think it was by 2013?of >> correct. but that did not require to you stand up the website. it required to you open enrollment >> yes and a significant portion enrollment -- not the administer had done the authority to operate, if he had not signed it, the have stood up 't on october 1st, would it? >> that's correct. short term temporary uthority to operate was done
specifically because she had i.t. and m her senior operations team as well as the contract -- > it wasn't the statute that made the website stand up on october 1st, was it? enrollment began and a significant part of it was the website. testified er yesterday that the estimated target enrollment number for the end of november was 800,000.tely and i know that your plans are week that update through last month. when you release that do we have assurance you'll break it own so you'll show whether individuals chose medicare or silver plans, bronze, and platinum levels and a state by state breakdown? > i can tell you, senator, we'll be able to did he lean ate between my understanding because tryingwhat they're still to determine is how many metrics
give.n we'll have the state breakdown and differentiation between medicaid verage and coverage. we intend to give you as much information that we can validate. i don't know if that we can nate the plan. >> what is the enrollment? there are all different kinds of target enrollments. think there was a memo internally that called for about enrolled people to be through december, but i really -- we're updating those targets. early ell you our enrollment numbers will be very low. set the effort to has d straight, secretary highlighted that premiums are lower than cbo projected. when they made their projections they made care tions because health cost is directly linked to
and the owth assumptions they made was that e would have g.d.p. growth in 2011 of 3.5 and 2012 and 2013 of 4.7. the reality is that gdp growth 2011 and 2.2 in 2012 2% in looks to be under 2013. actually hugely isappointing that in fact premium -- premiums have gone up o far because we've had relatively anemic growth in the united states. but there is incredible that were made for dp growth by the cbo that went into their estimates of insurance premium cost. you. e secretary, i thank >> i would just comment that in overall, the underlying health cost growth
market, te insurance the public insurance plans, the two after the president signed the affordable care account this there was a of assumption the very slow ate of cost increase was due principally to the recession. economists have now concluded that there are restrainers ost that were parted of the affordable care act that are our g a positive impact on healthcare spending on medicare spending which is grown at the rate in 50 years, medicaid spending nationally overall and t year private health insurance rates, again, since the affordable care act were passed have been at the slowest cost increase that has decades.n in so there is now a conclusion provisions the written into the bill about delivery system changes, payment
changes, different ways to measure quality out did the --es, some >> i'm sure all of these were ncluded in the manhattan instituted when they completed found s of 49 states and on average premiums in the individual market increased by obamacare and in my tate of north carolina, the manhattan institute estimates 136% higher under the act. dable care >> thank you. >> madam secretary, i think a like a f senators would couple more questions. senator hatch. keep i very nt to long madame secretary. that misconstrue you said you felt there would be not a lot of people sign up between beginning of the next year. >> is no. i said that the enrollment
that we'll release next week which will be the first enrollment will be quite low given the struggles people have had getting access getting te and information. >> well, do you expect the umbers to be very high during the month of november and december is my question? that with the site improvement we'll see more but until the sited is fully improved and we eally kind of open the doors wide to a lot of people, we're strugglehave i think a getting significant numbers to sign up. > i'm not trying to put you on the spot, but what -- i come back to my original concern. is it so difficult to put this off until we have it up and running right with the right kind of security so and private onal information is not subject to
athat come into the system naturally. prepared. re not >> again, senator, i would say that the site has met the standards of security for federal government sites. have taken great care again personally identifiable information in the hub. met the -- testing is 24/7 as each piece of software is added we need to continue to test the site and have a art of why we temporary authority to operate and not a permanent one because the pieces of the system are fully installed and hen you can do end to end testing at the very end but that won't be for a while, so -- the strategies are in place and it's on going and take privacy and security of the american public ery, very seriously
>> don't they have to give personal information, social earnings andber and set set cetera and isn't that put in the system? that's they hit the hub referred back to data bases and social security and homeland i.r.s. and in the place will market retain application information in case there need to be subsequent -- have to get that information now? >> for the application, yes worried what i'm about. wewe don't watch this and if don't have a fail safe system and you pretty much admit you testingve a third party unit in there trying to make sure -- > we do have a third party testing. >> who is that >> miter is the contract who the third party testing. it tested prior to going live in
october. off on going live in october. test.are continuing to we have a security team who is weeklying and performing testing of border deviceed and daily scans of the will ring tools and they conduct a full security test in when the nvironment entire site is loaded. but we don't have the spanish website up. additional piece that will be coming. the shop website is coming. do the end to end testing until the entire system is stood up. testing is going on every day >> that makes my case we shouldn't be getting into this set up.'s all it would be better and safer and people's cted of rights and their personal information. i'm saying is, i think you need an independent that isn't a
hired contractor to do this. raise these to issues. i know this is very difficult appreciated you testifying here today. our e you will answer letters when we send them to you letters out to you i never got any answers on. look, we're not in it to just rough time. we're in it to get it right. >> i would love to work with you get it right. >> thank you. >> thank you. main point t's the of this whole hearing is to get it right. and you just heard senator hatch say he wants to work with you to right. i mentioned in my opening statement that i am speaking for least majority of the committee to get it right. it's a 2-way street. you have to tell us what's
working and what's not working. american people strongly believe in transparency. we do in this committee. the more you don't tell us, the greater the problem is going to be. the more you do tell us, the good, the bad, the more likely gonna get this right at an earlier date. until the end of to ber that we're not going be up and running for the first of december. work with us. this is the law. we want to do this right and points in the law that have not been brought out. believe strongly to educe the healthcare costs in this country. we move more toward reform and that, in rts of efforts by private entities to control costs we're
making head way. one senator mentioned that japanese healthcare costs are eight%. administrative costs are 7, 8,% 18.u.s.ing we have to work to get the 18 now and other problems for fee service in this country. we want to keep working with you. why? our job.hat's we represent americans. we represent people all across country ask they want this to work. the politic.ke they want the dog gone thing to work. let's work together to make it work. >> i would welcome that. thank you. >> just one comment. there's another party that has to be have the attitude, mr. that do you and that s the republican party in the senate and the house. the republican national committee and all of those people that are doing everything they can to destroy you, the
and lots of speculation as to what for that might be. cooperate.o in other words, what the we rman is saying, is that will do everything we can. .ave he was unable quite far-reaching extraordinary bill. add that they have responsibility to help criticized the statements made. senator. you, > >> look, i think this is a terrible bill. i'm a not because republican or a democrat. i've worked as much on
here inre issues around the last 37 years as any number of people. frankly, better than most. things desire to have work. senator e tell you, reid said it well. hey said is this basically -- he basically said that it's just single n the way to a payer system, on a one size fits government run system. that's what worries republicans i think it worries democrats too. and i'm very concerned about a socialized o medicine situation where we can't control the cost and can't control the system and we denigrate the of helping it. naturally, i'm concerned about t and an i think a lot of republicans that are concerned about it and democrats that are
concerned about it. this is an simple bunch of political hacks working at it. this is a very serious set of problems. i don't have envy you to be in your position and have to answer questions and have to be the front person in trying to thing work. all i can say is, yes, i'll try help make it work if can i. but i don't think it's going to problem.that's the without costing america an arm really g and without taking people's healthcare away from them. are sincere here people on both sides who would like to solve the problems and about, the president said, 85% of america had health were satisfied with. hy didn't we just work on getting the 15% to have the
need ratherhat they than have to all these problems away aren't going to go very quickly and may never go away? >> okay, well thank you both very much. let's remind all of us to the ball and the ball that we're keeping the eye on is get this thing working. eight char that's the charge for the day. want to indicate, the senators will have a week to get their i urge you to d respond immediately to those questions so we can keep moving ahead. thank you very much. meeting's adjourned.
>> coming up on c-span, president obama is in dallas talking about the health care law. that is followed by a senator calling for a delay in implementing the law. in thea news conference case challenging prayer in public political forms. >> the defense department faces $500 billion in cuts over the next decade. on thursday, the pentagon services committee hears from military chiefs on how the budget cuts are affecting operations.
you can see this hearing live on c-span 3 starting at 9:30 a.m. eastern. later, former senate budget committee chairman who now heads the securities industry is talking about his organization's plan to protect investors. you can see if i've at 1:00 p.m. eastern also on c-span 3. >> unlike ike who grew up in a poor family, she was from a well-to-do family of all daughters. she attended a finishing school and we have a report card from this school in denver, colorado. in english,t a b she actually got a c-in european history. who knew that she would be so well-traveled and have so much
to do with european history. early on, i caught her this west point football charm showing the army and navy game scores of 1913 and 1914 when ike was coach. as a military wife, she took great pride in creating a home for ike in each of the 36 different places they lived throughout their marriage. >> what our program on first lady many eisenhower at our see it saturday on c- span at 7:00 p.m. eastern. our series continues life on monday as we look at first they jacqueline kennedy. >> president obama traveled to dallas on wednesday to speak about the health care law. volunteersnt visited who worked on outreach efforts for the law. his remarks are 15 minutes. >> good evening. my name is edna temperton. i bring greetings from oak
cliff, texas. and greetings from brian carter in concorde baptist church. i have the honor to present to you our commander-in-chief. on january 12, 2012, i was diagnosed with cancer. i went to the hospital and i did not do the paperwork right. i was denied service. after being healed, i decided that i would join you to make sure that everybody understands affordable health care. no one else will be denied service because they didn't do the proper work like i did. [applause] i know you have been waiting so i will not go through all the stuff i am supposed to say.
i will introduce to you our president, barack obama. [applause] >> give edna a round of applause. [applause] it is wonderful to see all of you. let me make special mention to people that are here. your outstanding mayor is here. outstanding county judge clay jenkins who is doing a great job on affordable care. congresswoman johnson is here. and we want to thank rabbi david stern and asher knight for hosting us today. the main reason i am here is to thank all of you. her story is one that is repeated all across the country.
people that got sick and did not have health insurance. folks that thought they had health insurance and turned out that because of the fine print or not filling something out right, they were short what they needed in terms of getting healed. when i ran for office, we were in the midst of the great recession. my number one priority was making sure we did not go into a great depression. we have seen the economy begin to recover even though washington has not been helpful with things like the shutdown. we have seen 7.5 million jobs created and record exports. we have seen growth in places like dallas. people are starting to get their footing. prices are starting to recover.
but if we did not start tackling the health care system in a serious way, it would continue to undermine the economy, hurt families, and hurt business. there is a reason why it has never been done before. starting with harry truman, people were talking about how we were going to make sure that everybody had affordable quality health care. but through democratic and republican presidents, we could not get it done. the reason is because it is hard. a lot of people, even if they don't like what is going on, they are nervous about change. but we were able to get it done in part because of grassroots folks like you that fought so hard to make sure that we are able to deliver on universal health care. that is what this is all about.
ultimately, the politics and the chatter leaves out the fact that the system is not working for too many people. it is important for us, as difficult and challenging as it has been, to move forward and make sure that folks like edna know they are going to get good care and their families won't get bankrupt because somebody got sick. that is what we have been fighting for. over the last three years, we have put a bunch of benefits in place. a lot of people don't know we have put them in place but they are already in place. if you have a child who is 25 and doesn't have health insurance and is on the parents plan, the reason is because of the affordable care act. seniors are getting discounts on prescription drugs and saving
hundreds of dollars because of the discount through the affordable care act. insurance companies have to treat customers right because of the affordable care act. no more lifetime limits or dropping people when they get sick. but to finish the job, we have to sign up those folks that don't have insurance and improve the insurance for those that are underinsured. they have been subject to the whims of the insurance company. that is the challenge we've got over the next three months, six months, one year. when we get that done, we will have created a stable system in which there is no reason why people should not be getting health care in this country. i am the first to say that the
first month i am not happy with. you have heard about the website woes. nothing drives me more crazy than the fact that right now, there is great insurance to be had out there, choice, competition, where people can save money for a better product. but too many folks have not been able to get through the website. this is like having a really good product in the store and the cash registers don't work and there aren't enough parking spots. nobody can get through the door. we are working overtime to get this fixed. the website is already better than it was at the beginning of october. by the end of this month, we anticipate it will be working the way it is supposed to. folks are working 24/7 to make sure that happens.
the insurance is already there. if they can't get through to the website, they can call the call center and people can take their application and be walked through the process. people can apply in person if there are folks out there helping people sign up. that is what all of you have been committed to doing. it is so important. the truth of the matter is that even if the website were working 100%, people would still need help to navigate through this stuff. a high percentage of people might not have ready access to a computer or it might be confusing for them. they need people to help guide them through this process. that is true of any kind of insurance. it is a complicated process.
the commitment that all of you, the congregations, the faith- based groups are engaged in is critically important and it is not going to stop even after the website is running perfectly. we will need all of you to be making these efforts. i want to make special mention of the mayor and the work to get people signed up because that is the kind of commitment we will need on the ground on a day-to- day basis. my main job here today is to say thank you. nothing is going to stop us from getting this done. we are on the right side of history. it is the right thing to do for our economy, businesses, and families. the last point i want to make. sometimes, this task is especially challenging. in the great lone star state.
i think all of you understand that there is no state that needs this more than texas. think about it. we were just talking on the way over here. in addition to signing people up for the marketplaces where they could buy private insurance, part of the affordable care act was expanding the number of working families that would qualify for medicaid. because of a supreme court ruling, it is voluntary. which states decide to expand medicaid coverage and which don't. in just the dallas area, 133,000
hampshire.ew it's been over a month since the healthcare exchanges have opened in that short time we've problems en so many with obamacare. frankly, it's a mess. the failure of healthcare.gov is revealed that has deeply troubling in confidence in terms of implementing a people can use and have access to and is secure and their private information and frankly, we're really the n where website is nearly the kaary in mine.al the flaws in this law are much deeper than the website. former supporters of obamacare are telling me it's not working. hearing from my constituent bout this and frankly i feel very badly for them because so much of what is happening to
the is as a result of how law is drafted and concerns that years ago t forward at this point. heard from i've someone who lives in new hampshire and she said we hope solution, but instead it will be more of a drain.al the american people are the ones paying the price right now and cancellation g notices and seeing their losing their and doctors. workers are suffering. any of them have seen their hours cut to 29 hours because of arbitrary mandate to finding full-time workers as those who week. others are fearful that they'll lose their coverage all ored together and business owners emain reluctant to expand worried that they'll trigger the ooming penalties from
obamacare. most tragically we know that the american ld to the people under false pretenses. said, if you like your insurance plan, you keep it. fact, yesterday we checked the website for the white house claim is still on there. every day from new hampshire residents that they're seeing their y're health insurance policies cancelled. in the newspaper this morning new he headline in hampshire announceed that 22,000 ndividuals will see coverage cancelled at the end of the year. haves what granite staters been writing me and saying to me. share their country with the entire because i know this isn't just happening to people in new
ampshire, but these are the real people who are being affected by obamacare. someone in greenland wrote me, the president was wrong. i can't keep my coverage if i it. and i can't keep my preferred hospital. that s plans are the ones are sub par. tears on a g me to daily basis. please help. one is self-employed. badly when i receive letters like this. he has a rare disease and a high deductible plan. he wrote, i received a notice rom anthem that they will be cancelling this policy. s that what president obama meant when he says no one who policy r current own likes it will lose it. i'm devastated i'll have to go ut and secure another policy somewhere which could cost me
significantly more. jennifer wrote: i received a letter from anthem blue cross my current health insurance plan was being discontinued because it did not the law under the affordable care act. i was r words, the plan promised i could keep was made washington politicians. said, kelly, we have een told this would expands optio option. being told we're what we can and cannot do and where we can go. upset would not be feel.to describe how i richard said, i'm a small business owner in new hampshire my health en with insurance provider for over ten years. informed that the poll sisy i have had for all
i like quite a bit will be cancelled due to obamacare.in when i contacted the company, hey said they are planning to transition me into a plan that osts more and offers substantially less benefits and protections than my original plan. am outraged by this. jamie wrote me, today we received a letter from anthem stating that my husband's individual healthcare lan which he had for 15 years will be changing to conform to a be laws and will no longer in effect come september 1st, 2014. just wrote me, what happened? i received a cancellation notice rom my insurance company and the coverage i am eligible for
expensive. help me. obama has made the promise that if you like your doctor, you'll be able to keep doctor, period. for those who are seeing their cancelled, we know that that's simply not the case. there's another issue that new hampshire is facing and matter of choice and keeping not only the doctor that want to keep but also going to the hospital that you want to go to. because in new hampshire there's only one insurer who will exchanges at the this point, and to keep costs decided to urer has ten of our twork so 26 hospitals are not part of the are excluded.
o, for example, the capital of new hampshire is concord. one of the hospitals that's been is concord hospital. i worked in concord for years. concord that the hospital is going to be excluded nd all the people in that area that rely on that hospital and had their children there and ave had treatment there, that they would be excluded if they're now on the exchanges and go to the concord hospital? this is a real impact on people lives and i feel very constituent. a doctor wrote me, he was once a obamacare.f he described the consequences simply, in a letter to me he patients have one of three terrible options right that's because ever the hospital and that is because the hospital in his area has been excluded from the exchange.
first, they can switch doctors and drive considerable distance to a hospital that they included the exchange. insuranceurchase outside of the exchange at considerably higher rates that may could this year. or they can stick with their current doctors, risk having no insurance and pay the government a penalty for being uninsured. with this hospital excluded from is thehange, he said it less affordable care act for his patients. this is what it would mean for his patients. consider the pregnant woman. she must either drive the
twisting new england rose in the dead of winter to a hospital 55 minutes from her home to deliver her baby or pay considerably higher insurance premiums to stay where she is comfortable and safe. she is one of numerous citizens who have expressed similar concerns about local hospitals being excluded from the exchange. share with you some of the concerns that have been written from my constituents. list of doctors and medical facilities that will take my insurance is limited. and my massachusetts doctors are not on the list. is not onosest to me the list. newcastle wrote that the exchange choice will not allow me to use my doctors including primary care and -- who is affiliated with the
portland hospital. all oncology physicians are located in boston and not covered. wrote me, she currently goes to the memorial hospital in rochester which is not part of the exchange. the surgeon who saved my life, emergency surgery was required. longer visit the same internist. if i develop heart problems, i can no longer go to portsmouth regional hospital. gregory in rochester said that his primary care physician means he will have to go to another
hospital. what he told me is that i don't their they have been able to keep the same doctors. it because of obama care, frisbee is out of the loop and this is totally unfair to all the people that live in the area. what gives? me and said that none of her current physicians, including her primary care physician and her ob/gyn are in the exchange. she wrote that the nearest providers are 45 minutes west, 60 minutes east, 90 minutes north. mes will be very costly to
in terms of time taken off to attend appointments at these hospitals. this is one day without income. a single mother also from said,orough wrote me and if my 17-year-old son does get required to take a minimum of half a day off to bring my son to manchester to find a primary care physician accept insurance through affordable care. not that i can even afford that route. i am also hearing heart wrenching stories about how their premiums are going up.
when this was being sold, premiums would go down. that is not what i was hearing from my constituents. my insurance is going to double on january 1 of 2014. even the options that conform to the health act are double the amount i am paying today. it doesn't make any sense that my insurance would go up i double when this is called affordable health care. last year, the sum total of my arely's health care costs 23 hundred dollars. i have been looking at health insurance from my family. $40 and $.30 per month. i will
have to pay an additional $6,800. this isn't fair and it is not affordable. i don't know how many people who can budget for an additional $6,800 a year. employed and my wife and i paid for our health insurance through anthem that provides coverage for us and our 15-month-old daughter. about 580 dollars a month for major deductible plans with a total family deductible of $7,500. we receivedks ago, a letter informing us that our old policies don't meet the requirements of the new aca. therefore, we were going to be canceled.
when researching options on the website, we found the deductible is now going to be $1200 -- sorry, $12,000 a year. and at an increased cost of $150 a month. feel the country has been .isled i buy an individual policy to cover myself. it went up 25% on october 21. the letter i received from blue cross was to cover the implementation of aca. result, i dropped down to a less expensive plan. guess what? i was told i was ok until 2014 when that plan will no longer be able -- available because it doesn't comply with the new rules and regs.
patty who said that after her insurance company told her to find a plan, she signed up for at least -- the least expensive blondes -- bronze plan available. be $75 a month higher for a total of just under $600 a month for me, but in addition to that, i have a $5,400 annual deductible. effectively, that is not a prescription plan at all. is basically a very expensive catastrophic plan and nothing more. it is not affordable and i am disgusted.
me.ara in merrimack wrote she and her husband don't yet qualify for medicare. it is just too expensive. the cheapest coverage we could find is in the bronze category and will cost $1228 per month. will have a deductible of and a per individual deductible of 11,009 hundred dollars per family. $11,900 per family. and 1282 equals
and is more than my mortgage. what was supposed to help people like my husband and i who are self-employed, he has a chronic illness. it only hurts us. up $.70 a month -- it went up per month and with a $4000 single. nothing like a 30% increase for one year. yourself up each day and go to work to try to .arry on is hard enough to pick and choose
what bills we can afford to pay. she tried to enroll her son into the federal program . this is what she spoke to me. it was $600 a month. do you know of any 20-year-old who can afford $600 a month? contrary to the original intent of the affordable care act, individuals who obtain insurance on their own are paying basedlly escalating costs on individual coverage for a healthy non-smoking 51-year-old male available for january 1 of 2014 on the health care exchange in new hampshire. premium 25% increase from 4200 to 5300. fromtible 20% increase
$5,000 to $6,000. 82% increase in less than two years. 2012 to $5,300f in january of 2014. hancock.rom eric and he said he saw a 46% premium hike. he wrote to me, what has been done to our health care system? this is the on affordable care act. unaffordable care act. plans must include coverage for services that consumers don't want based on their individual situation or don't need to based on their individual situation. his premiums will go up nearly 40% because of obamacare.
them arethat some of for coverages which my wife and i don't need or want. havenstance, we must maternity coverage. even though we have no children under the age of 18. me thatbedford wrote the maternity issue is a trap for seniors. carolyn wrote, can anyone please anlain to me why i need insurance plan that requires maternity provisions? can anyone explain to me why i would have to pay for pediatrics when i have no children. the most affordable plan she has seen has been $504 and $.15 a month which she can't afford.
and a $6,350 out of pocket premium. if i can't afford the premium, how can i afford the deductible? employers will drop their coverage. benjamin in greenville wrote, my portion currently about $5,000 a year will jump to $20,000 a year. i make too much money to be subsidized. where do inator, find $15,000 a year? $1250 a month. it is an already tight budget.
vacations, no more dance lessons for my kids, no more family date night. what i have seen is the feeling that those in the middle are being squeezed the most. is not canceling the company-sponsored health plan as of january 2014 which cost me $2288 a year. plan, iing for a new have seen the possibility of a $22 subsidy to help me with the monthly cost of $400. an increase in my health care cost i can't afford. i am a taxpaying and proud american that did not ask for this act and is now suffering
because of it. cheryl wrote, not only do i have to pay twice the premiums, but it will be post tax a double hit. be ok orpoor i would if i work for a larger employer, i would be ok. are those of us trying to make a good living, we end up carrying this. this is not the american dream at all. on september 30, i received a letter from anthem informing me that my new payment to keep my current plan which i have had for over eight years will $.47 on $212 and january 1. that is a 2005 hundred $48.80 -- 2548.80 increase.
roberta in nashua, like plenty of my constituents leading for asks to do what you can for us to keep our care and not be forced into purchasing exchange insurance which is so , it is not affordable. patients losing their doctors, i have also heard about another aspect and consequence of obamacare. from people working hard trying to make ends meet. those are workers seeing their hours cut. many of these employers not
surprisingly have decided to reduce hours rather than comply with this new mandate. my constituents are writing me about. these hard-working people trying to make a living. i heard from any mg that wrote my employerid notified the 75 of us that effectivere that january 1, our hours will be cut due to obamacare. it makes it harder for us to buy our own insurance. the school district and surrounding ones are cutting back professional jobs to 29 hours. now they are no longer entitled
to any benefits. many of these individuals have work 15 or more years with a school district as full-time. they told me that the looming is causing them to think about eliminating coverage for their employers. stephen in nashua wrote me that i am a small employer. i would be very tempted to dump my plan for my employees, give them a few extra dollars and get out of the health care business. causing them to think twice about growing and adding new workers.
i would not be able to pay health insurance for my staff members. madam president, these are just that i ame stories receiving from new hampshire about hardships that obamacare is causing for people who are working hard who want to make ends meet and keep the health plans that they have now. i have worked hard, sponsored many efforts, and voted to the health care law. timeout from for a obamacare. timeout, madam
president. because of the concerns i just talked about in this chamber that i am hearing from my constituents. i know many members in this chamber are hearing. we need the president to call a timeout. to the floor several times during the government wrongwn and i said it was to shut down the government to try to defund obamacare. because of the harmful impact of the government shutdown. i even called on members of my own party, please don't go forward and shut the government down. now it is time for the president to see the impact of this law and understand from someone who on stood up to her own party the government shutdown, i am asking the president of the united states to hear from the people of this country who are
being impacted negatively by the health care law and call a time out, mr. president. it is not working and they are worried that their personal information won't be protected. the problems are much deeper. hours are being cut for workers that want to work and make a living in this great country. this law was passed out of this chamber on party lines. i would argue that the best way to address health care in this country and to address real
with the status quo is to bring a bipartisan group they have also taken thetime to point out to me major problems they see. i want to share those as well. competition in new hampshire is effectively nonexistent. we have one insurer on the exchange. one suggestion i saw is one i .gree with why shouldn't insurance companies have to compete on the national basis? we need to place our focus where it belongs.
another constituent wisely pointed out that there should not be a cookie-cutter set of policies like the ones that fromt in coverage maternity care. people should be able to shop for coverage that suits their particular needs. thate should respect different people have different needs in health care. there are many other ideas i know we can work on together. i know they have written the other great ideas as well. overarching theme i have heard is that americans are tired of being victims of partisan gamesmanship. i agree with them. partisanad too much
gamesmanship on so many issues in congress. tired of the politics and they want us to work together to solve tough problems. i agree with them on that. on behalf of the people of new hampshire, iran new my call -- i renew my call for a timeout on obamacare. let's have both parties come to .he table and
that aree town council at issue in this case. exchangeery vigorous between the justices and the attorneys representing the two sides of this debate. we heard more than a few justices who are quite skeptical about the government dictating how or when clergy or any citizen is allowed to pray. this court has consistently found that prayers offered at legislative sessions are constitutional. we argue in our brief about totallyive prayers
consistent with both the declaration of independence and with the constitution. if they weren't, as some of the justices alluded to, the court would be in trouble with itself. they began with a form of prayer "godthe marshall declared save the united states and this honorable court." as a number of justices made in their remarks today, the rolenment has a dubious dictating the content of any prayer. the government has no authority to instruct anyone in the form or content of prayer.
to tell the citizens when he or she is to pray or not to pray, it is a flagrant violation of the first amendment free exercise clause that expressly prohibits the government from interfering with religious exercise. i felt we heard the justices say very clearly that a government official is in no position to dictate how a prayer should be worded. none of us wants the government telling us what a good prayer is and what a bad prayer is. prayer ats court ban council meetings or anywhere doe, the government would precisely what the original plaintiffs in this case don't want. religiono establish a that requires an innocuous and
meaningless prayers to an unknown god. pastor atld to the the center of all of this activity. >> good morning. my name is patrick medeiros. greece assembly of god in the town of greece. i have appeared before the council many times over the last 14 years. i have asked god to bless our community and grant them divine wisdom as they do the people's business. said yes to serve out the community. it is my responsibility as a citizen.
it is my prayer that the justices will uphold my constitutional right to continue this great tradition to pray during these meetings. thank you. >> i am a participant in the brief in the town of greece versus galloway report today. i am focusing on issues of religion and law. a currently distinguished research professor in tacoma washington. i am pleased with the probing questions of the court today and felt especially good about what i am about to say. the duty to become arbiters of government, as justice souter said, i can hardly imagine a subject less minimal
deliberately to be avoided if possible then comparative theology. with the guidance of the marsh opinions that the courts are not the poorest the contents of public prayers and regulating the content violates the establishment clause by an orthodox of neutrality. it would define what theological terms may be used in this prayer , an impossible task. it is not possible to have a religiously neutral prayer. there is a deity and a civic setting confirmed in the history of our people and the documents confirmed by the supreme court. religions only share some point in common and are quite divergent in others. religions like christianity and islam believe in one god forms ofe
hinduism honor many gods. it cannot provide for a neutral are moreile others generally of supreme beings. the religious views are neutered and imposes free exercise in the religion of establishment that flies in the face of the words and practices of those that wrote the first amendment religion clauses. to demand some suppose a neutral corer is to strike at the itself. it is where the state will not interfere with the percent of and nota civic context
defy the theological content of this prayer. thank you. >> good morning, ladies and gentlemen. i am senior director at alliance defending freedom. we have a couple of key members of the legal team who will be delivering a short statement. if you want one-on-one interviews, you can track me down and i would be happy to facilitate that. tom? i am happy to answer questions but i don't have a statement to give.
>> the supreme court justices and their remarks to you? >> they have lots of questions for both sides and explored lots of challenging hypotheticals. i never make predictions about how the court is going to rule. the town of greece has a legislative prayer practice consistent with the traditions of this country from its very founding. it is comparable to what the town of greece has been doing and solemnize is the occasion as they begin their work. there is nothing unconstitutional about that. the other sides' arguments would require government to censor prayers to decree what is orthodox and what is not when prayer givers are giving public prayer. that would be contrary to our traditions of religious liberty.
>> where does it end? is there no limit to your position? >> the supreme court in the prior case in 1983 upholding legislative prayer at the state level said that as long as the prayer is not being exploited by the government to proselytize or denigrate particular faiths, then it's not constitutionally a problem and it is not permissible for the courts to regulate the content of the prayer. and there's no claim that the prayers of the town of greece violate those prohibitions, and therefore they're constitutional. >> what's wrong with giving clergy and ministers guidelines and guidance as to what's acceptable and unacceptable? >> it depends on what the guidelines are. if the guidelines are what the mavs want here, which is to say you can pray in these words to these deities but not in those words to those deities, that is government regulating the theological content of prayers prescribing what is orthodox and what is not in religion. and that is contrary to our tradition of religious liberty. >> when ministers ask the community to bow their heads or
join them in prayer, is that not proselytizing? >> it is not. first of all, no one is required to do it. people are free not to do it. similar things happen from time to time in the legislature or in congress. and since people are free to pray or not as they choose, there's no constitutional problem with that. >> you don't think that would make somebody uncomfortable if they're the only one not standing or bowing their head? >> the supreme court has upheld that someone might object to a particular practice or made uncomfortable is not the fusional test? constitutional test. we're talking about the establishment clause and whether or not the government is establishing a particular religion. here the town of greece practice is open to people of any religion or no religion if they choose to give an invocation. >> [question inaudible] only for members of other religions gave those prayers, why did that not happen until the initial lawsuit? that did not happen in the past. >> the practice like the practice of many governmental bodies was to invite all of the clergy in the town with regardless of denomination or
religion to deliver a prayer if it they chose. it happened the people who chose to deliver the prayer in greece were christian until 2008 when after this lawsuit was publicized and the complaints were publicized, more people became aware of the opportunity and nonchristians began delivering the prayer both in 2008 and several times since then. >> which they actively invite other members of other religions? >> i'm sorry. >> they actively invite other members of other religions? they say, hey, it's open? >> the town has never made a secret of its policy. no one had ever requested prior to the plaintiffs in this case. when the plaintiffs in this case complained, the town offered them an opportunity to give an invocation but they declined. >> did say? >> feeling uncomfortable has been standard for standing. [question inaudible]
>> i think what i said is that if the supreme court were to adopt the same practice that would raise different constitutional issues. if the supreme court were to adopt a practice of having only one sectarian prayer for a from a particular denomination that would clearly be more constitutionally problematic. that's not the practice here. >> the identical prayer, a single priest on one occasion, you think that would fly or not fly? >> on one occasion it's hard to say. there's no similar tradition in the courts. and courts are subject to additional constraints in terms of the obligation to be objective and unbiased. but whether one violation whether one prayer would be a violation, it's hard to say. >> thank you. >> i want to thank tom and his team. they did a great job at the supreme court and been a great addition to the team. i think more importantly, i want to thank the town of greece. this is a concerted effort across our country to completely get rid of what's called public prayer, legislative prayer.
there are over 200 cases around the united states where groups are trying to challenge the historical practice of legislative prayer. and many of these small towns can't afford this type of a case. the town of greece stood up. and their case ended up here. but i think it's important, what plaintiffs want is censorship. i think no one should be in favor of that. i think when you have different prayer givers, they should have the liberty to pray according to the dictates of their faith tradition. and that's exactly what this town did it discriminated against none. it allowed anyone to comp on? come on an equal basis. even atheist plaintiffs were invited to come and give an invocation. you can't have a policy more open than this. and more importantly, and some of the justices asked good questions, should the government be in the position of censoring the way people pray? no. the people should be able to compose their own prayers. it's on a rotating basis. first come, first serve. anyone's invited to attend.
i think the justices asked some intriguing questions and hopefully will come up on the defense of prayer that our country has engaged in since its founding. >> family research counsel representing members of congress amicus in this case. as the briefs we filed on behalf of members of congress show, the reality is that the prayer practice in the town of greece, new york, is far more religiously diverse than we actually have in the united states congress. ever since the founding of the republic for more than 200 years members of congress have had an official paid chaplain who would be an ordained clergyman who himself personally gives prayers in his own faith tradition. furthermore, 40% of the prayers are offered by guest chaplains
as they're sponsored. and each of them praise according to their own faith tradition. in terms of the issues that the lower court in this case recognized as problematic, a majority of the prayers offered in congress actually include, according to what the other side describes as sectarian, to be faithspecific content. beyond that 97%. prayer givers before congress are self identified weistian and 97% say that and us as they pray, facing not just the members but also the gallery incorporating all of this into what they are saying. in 1983 when the supreme court upheld legislative prayer, it used congress as the touchstone of what is acceptable under the first amendment because it was the same congress that wrote the establishment cause of -- laws
of the constitution. it created the house and senate chaplain to offer these every day. we're hopeful the court will go the right way in this course. as being consistent with the establishment clause and to make it clear in our second brief at the time has come to step away from this whole concept of if someone subjectively feel the government is endorsing a religious idea and the test is not endorsement, but coercion. is anyone being coerced to participate in a religious activity contrary to their conscience or some other religion.stablishing that is not what is going on here. we are hopeful the court will go the right way in this case and reverse the court below. tank you. -- thank you. >> i argued the case for the play and -- for the plaintiffs.
a number of them support the right of citizens to's participate without participating in another prayer service. most of what you heard was false. there is no rotation system. the only or instructions was to call a pastor. they had no one but christian pastors. i have defended many christians in my career. i do not support the right to use the power of government to impose on religious minorities. that is what is going on. justice hagan samurai star case, -- kagan summarized our case. you cannot refuse to participate in the prayer just before you stand up to ask the board to take discretionary action that affects you directly and personally. this is highly coercive and also a sectarian endorsement. it violates all of the
principals of the establishment clause that both sides of the court, the liberals and conservatives, have agreed to carry and endorsements are prohibited. and we have both of those things in this case. >> what is the larger problem, the message or the method? >> the message. it does not matter who was selected to give the prayer. it matters what the prayer givers says. the prayers in this case are explicitly christian and often heavy handedly christian, talking about the saving grace of jesus christ on the crossed and similar things. we do not care if pastors give a prayer as long as they remain nonsectarian. >> how can you make them sectarian to appeal to many religions? how can you do that? >> we have a tradition in this country of nonsectarian prayers that appeal to a wide range of positions. it is true you can't protect everybody. but you can protect almost everybody and you can protect